Junkyard Find: 2000 Chevrolet Metro Hatchback

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Starting with the Chevrolet Sprint in 1985, General Motors sold rebadged versions of the Suzuki Cultus all the way through the 2001 model year. For the 1989 through 1997 model years, these cars were sold as Geo Metros; after the demise of the Geo brand, they became Chevrolets.

Unlike most miserable econoboxes, the Metro’s decades-long reputation for frugality has kept it on the road for longer than most of its competition, and 21st-century examples are very rare in wrecking yards. Here’s one in a Denver self-service yard.

I looked for a 2001 Metro for quite a while, since I enjoy photographing final-year-of-long-production cars in junkyards, but had to settle for a 2000. This one averaged well over 12,000 miles per year over its lifetime, and still looks pretty clean.

A four-cylinder engine displacing a cavernous 1.3 liters was available as an option for much of the Metro Era, but this car has the penny-pinching 1.0-liter three-cylinder. The four-banger was good for 79 horsepower in 2000, but this car had just 55.

At least it has the five-speed manual transmission, which reduced the misery level somewhat. I once owned a can’t-pass-up-this-deal cheap 1996 Metro with the four-cylinder and automatic, and it was dangerously slow.

The later Metros were built in Ontario by the Suzuki-GM CAMI partnership, so this patriotic gas-sipper is pure North American.

Air conditioning was available in these cars, as can be seen by the block-off plate for the A/C button.

Harlan Ellison liked this car very much, if we are to believe this commercial for the final Geo-badged Metros.

In Japan, these cars weren’t considered incredibly small, but they were still pitched to the frugal.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Turf3 Turf3 on Jan 08, 2018

    I spent some time in a rental unit some years back. It wasn't really that slow, but you had to drive it like an Italian - foot down to the floor at all times. In fact it was downright perky with only the driver in it, right up to about 65 mph at which point all the "go" was gone. I gave three guys a ride to the airport in it and the added weight made an enormous difference.

    • JohnTaurus JohnTaurus on Jan 08, 2018

      I gave three friends a ride in my 1988 Taurus L, with the 2.5L I-4 and 3 speed auto. One was over 300 lbs and the other two were 250 lbs easy, each. It was not a fast trip. Especially up a steep hill. The 2.5L begged me for mercy, but I held it to the floor, barely topping 35 mph. I had two friends in my old 2.0L Camry, it made a difference as well. They were both over 200 lbs and you could feel the car was noticeably slower, and the handling was even worse than usual. Lots of leaning in corners, with some front-end plowing. Keep in mind, I weighed about 150-160 lbs at both times.


    Of course Harlan Ellison drove one of theses GEOs for many years-(CA license:HE) I had been reading Ellison's work since 1978 and liked the commercial also. He now has a late 40s Packard which you can find in an Ellison Wonderland "home" video on YouTube!

  • Daniel J Until we get a significant charging infrastructure and change times get under 10 minutes, yes
  • Mike I own 2 gm 6.2 vehicles. They are great. I do buy alot of gas. However, I would not want the same vehicles if they were v6's. Jusy my opinion. I believe that manufacturers need to offer engine options for the customer. The market will speak on what the consumer wants.For example, I dont see the issue with offering a silverado with 4cyl , 6 cyl, 5.3 v8, 6.2 v8, diesel options. The manufacturer will charge accordingly.
  • Mike What percentage of people who buy plug in hybrids stop charging them daily after a few months? Also, what portion of the phev sales are due to the fact that the incentives made them a cheaper lease than the gas only model? (Im thinking of the wrangler 4xe). I wish there was a way to dig into the numbers deeper.
  • CEastwood If it wasn't for the senior property tax freeze in NJ I might complain about this raising my property taxes since most of that tax goes to the schools . I'm not totally against EVs , but since I don't drive huge miles and like to maintain my own vehicles they are not practical especially since I keep a new vehicle long term and nobody has of yet run into the cost of replacing the battery on an EV .
  • Aquaticko Problem with PHEV is that, like EVs, they still require a behavioral change over ICE/HEV cars to be worth their expense and abate emissions (whichever is your goal). Studies in the past have shown that a lot of PHEV drivers don't regularly plug-in, meaning they're just less-efficient HEVs.I'm left to wonder how big a battery a regular HEV could have without needing to be a PHEV.